Supporting Georgia’s agriculture industry one herd at a time

By Cindy H. Rice

With Georgia being home to Atlanta, several fortune 500 companies and an expanding movie business, some may not realize that agriculture is the state’s number one industry.

This includes the production of nearly 1.7 billion pounds of milk a year and the management of 1 million beef cattle. In fact, the dairy and beef industries combined have the second highest commodity value in Georgia with total farm gate values exceeding $1.5 billion.*

Helping to safeguard these important commodities is the goal of the production medicine team at the UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

This service travels to dairy and beef operations throughout the state and works closely with producers and their veterinarians to improve herd health. They also offer consulting services throughout the Southeast.

“Herd health is an essential component to the success of any dairy or beef cattle operation,” said one of the service’s veterinarians, Dr. Brent C. Credille, who specializes in large animal internal medicine and beef production medicine. “This ranges from any obvious illnesses in the herd to how well they are performing as a group. You can’t just look at one cow. You have to know how to evaluate the whole herd and make recommendations for improvement based on that.”

These recommendations not only help the owner’s operation to be more profitable in the long run, but they also help ensure the quality and safety of the final product—our food.

“We tend to take a fairly holistic approach,” Credille said. “We look at management practices, nutrition, the environment and genetics when trying to improve the quality of a herd rather than just relying on medical options.”

Their services include bull breeding soundness exams, evaluating herd management practices, reproductive evaluations, herd outbreak investigations, milk quality testing, and herd improvement strategies, to name a few. For more information, to make a referral, or to set up an appointment, call 706.542.3223.

*Statistics from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’s 2014 Georgia Farm Gate Value Report.

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